Trinidad and Tobago has its work cut out if the country is to improve its competitiveness.
After a dismal showing on last year's Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) and the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), and the Global Innovation Index (GII), the government has since attempted to mitigate the conditions noted by these agencies by initiating a performance review of key growth areas including crime control, health, agriculture and the economy.
T&T ranks 84 out of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum's GCI, 81 out of 144 in the GII, and 80 out of 178 on Transparency International's CPI.
"Our vision is for a safe and secure society and a food secure nation, free of poverty, and with a first class health care system... and creating a quality education system as a base for a knowledge-driven, skilled society," Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie said at the launch of the first annual performance report last month.
The report covers the period October 1, 2011 to September 2012.
The data necessary to produce the report was not fully supplied, so the document, the ministry notes, is a "hybrid"—a blend of traditional forms of output reports and activities, and analyses of that data against outcomes.
"It is a tool used by the government to support measurement, monitoring and reporting," Tewarie said.
The report aims to keep the government in check, by monitoring its progress in achieving goals set out in its various documents, like the manifesto, the medium term policy framework, the National Budget, and various ministerial plans.
"This report is both quantitative and qualitative and that makes the valuations very important. My own sense is that overall the government has performed well on the five clear priorities identified by the medium term policy framework. There are areas that we have surpassed expectations. There are areas where we have remained the same without much progress and areas where we have a good deal to do to be where we want to be. But at least now we have the measures and that allows us to manage better. In terms of delivery, the report will indicate that the delivery of government matter related to the five priorities is really quite significant," Tewarie told the Business Express in a telephone interview Friday.
Tewarie admitted there were challenges in the data collection.
"In some areas we did not have the data. In some areas, we had data that was not current. One of those areas was health. In some of the areas of health we have data that is not beyond 2008, or up to 2010. So there was no way we could have made a comparison about what was achieved in 2012," he said.
As a result, he said, government can now look at those gaps in data and information to see how to improve.
"The focus, based on that performance report, will be on individual ministries improving their data collection methods and ensuring up to date data," he said.
So how did the key economic performance indicators score on the government's report card?
Crime and Law & Order Indicators:
• The recidivism rate decreased from 53.4 per cent in 2010 to 50 per cent as of June 2012
• The crime detection rate decreased from 53.4 per cent in 2010 to 14.8 per cent in 2012
• The homicide detection rate decreased from 24.8 per cent in 2010 to 15.4 per cent in 15.4 per cent
• The time taken for cases from start to determination remained the same at 7 years
For the period October 1, 2011 to August 31, 2012 the National Security Ministry reported a 7.5 reduction in serious crimes, when compared to the same period one year before.
• Narcotic Offences—22.8 per cent decrease
• Larceny Motor Vehicles – 21.6 per cent decrease
• Woundings and shootings—9.6 per cent decrease
• Burglaries and break-ins – 9.3 per cent decrease
• Murders—9.2 per cent decrease
• Kidnappings—8.2 per cent increase
• Larceny dwelling house – 2.6 per cent increase
• There was an overall 7.5 per cent decrease in serious crimes.
• As of July 2012, the food inflation rate decreased by 6.9 per cent to 22.6 per cent, from a high of 29.5 per cent in 2010.
• The sector increased its contribution to the GDP by 0.1 per cent to 0.6 per cent, up from 0.5 per cent from 2012.
• The sector employed 3.07 per cent of the population, down from 3.698 per cent in 2010.
• The country's $4 billion food import bill fell by $18.8 million to $3.98 billion
The Ministry of Health understands the need to collect up to date data to give an accurate representation of the status of the country's health care system, the report said. That said, some of the data from provided by the Ministry to the report was until 2008. More recent data had to be collated from the World Health Organisation.
• Mortality Rates of Non-Communicable Diseases per 100,000 people decreased within the period 2004-2008 from 751 to 673.
• Cancer mortality rate per 100,000 increased from 105.2 to 108.7.
• Tuberculosis mortality rate per 10,000 people increased between 2008 and 2010 from 1.6 to 2.8
• Diabetes mortality rates increased between 2004 and 2008 per 100,000 people from 106.3 to 108.5
• HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate per 100,000 from 2010 to 2011 decreased from 89.69 to 84.14.
• Physician professionals per 10,000 decreased slightly between 2009 to 2010 from 12 to 11.8.
• Nursing professionals per 10,000 people decreased from 36 to 33.4
• The client satisfaction rate throughout the sector was 44 per cent in 2010.
• Immunisation coverage remained stable from 2008 to 2010 at 90 per cent.
• Maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births decreased from 2008 to 2010 from 55.3 to 46
• Under five mortality rate per 1000 live births increased from 16 to 27
Economic Growth, Job Creation, Competitiveness and Innovation:
• Gross Domestic Product decreased from $89 billion in 2010 to $87.8 billion in 2012.
• The Petroleum Sector contributed 42.2 per cent in 2012, but decreased to 40.2 per cent in 2012
• The non-petroleum sector contributed 58.9 in 2010, increasing to 59.7 per cent in 2012
• Energy exports in 2010 accounted for US$9.3 billion in 2010, and increased to US$10.9 billion in 2011
• Non-energy exports accounted for US$1.9 billion in 2010, and increased to US$2.09 billion in 2011
• Foreign Direct Investment increased from $549.4 million in 2010 to US$1.1 billion in 2011
• The unemployment rate decreased from 5.9 per cent in 2010 to 4.9 in 2011
Poverty Reduction and Human Capital Development:
• The number of people living below the poverty line decreased from 18.9 per cent in 2009 to 14.8 per cent in 2012
• The Gini coefficient (used to measure income distribution; A low Gini coefficient indicates a more equal distribution, with 0 corresponding to complete equality, while higher Gini coefficients indicate more unequal distribution, with 1 corresponding to complete inequality) remained the same from 2010 to 2012 at 0.39
• T&T's ranking on the UN Human Development Index decreased from 59 out of 169 in 2010, to 62 out of 187 in 2011.
• The participation rate at tertiary institutions increased from 42 per cent in 2010 to 46.4 per cent in 2012, and the graduation rate from these institutions in 2012 was 38 per cent.
The report was approved by Cabinet in January before publication in February.
Tewarie said "there was a good reception from all ministries, and the general response from the public has been good".
"When we launched the report and people saw and understood what we were doing, and understood the quality of the report, and the inclusion of measurements I think most people felt we had made a significant leap forward," he said.